Sir Keir Starmer has challenged anti-Semitism and the hard-left of his party, as many political shifts are confirmed this morning.
Sir Keir Starmer has given a speech this morning, alongside an Op-Ed in The Times, making a stand against anti-Semitism and the hard-left of his party.
The Labour Party leader has also confirmed that former leader, Jeremy Corbyn, will not stand at the next general election.
The Labour Party under Mr Corbyn faced intense scrutiny and criticism over its handling of antisemitism complaints, which led to a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in 2020.
The report found that the party had breached the Equality Act 2010 by committing “unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination” against Jewish members, and it highlighted a “breakdown of trust” between the party and the Jewish community.
Following the publication of the report, Sir Keir Starmer took over as the leader of the Labour Party, and he has since vowed to root out antisemitism and create a “zero-tolerance” policy within the party. Under his leadership, the party has implemented a number of changes to improve its complaints and training procedures and protect current and future members from harassment and discrimination.
These changes have been deemed sufficient by the EHRC, which has now ended its monitoring of the party. The watchdog has praised the Labour Party for its efforts to address the issue of antisemitism and create a safer environment for Jewish members. The Labour leader says the EHRC’s decision is not “the end of the road” but “a signpost that we are heading in the right direction”.
In an article for The Times, Sir Keir Starmer acknowledged the Labour Party’s past failures and the pain caused to Jewish members. He described antisemitism as an “evil” and stressed the need for “zero tolerance” to eradicate it from the party.
Sir Keir also emphasised that the changes made under his leadership are “permanent, fundamental, irrevocable,” and that there is no going back to the old ways.
However, Sir Keir also acknowledged that there is more work to be done, and he apologised once again to those who were let down by the party’s past failures. He also stated that the success of the party’s efforts will be judged by whether those who were let down feel ready to call Labour their party again’.
The move against the former Labour leader will cause backlash against the hard-left wing of the party, as the new leader looks to bring the party’s political alignment to the center.
‘Out with the old, in with the new’
The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has also confirmed that she is resigning after more than eight years in the role.
The Scottish National Party leader said that she knew “in my head and in my heart” that this was the right time to step down. She made announcement at a hastily-arranged news conference in Edinburgh.
The first minister said she she would remain in office until her successor was elected. Ms Sturgeon is the longest-serving first minister and the first woman to hold the position.
She said serving in the role had been “a privilege beyond measure”.
But she added: “Since the very first moment in the job, I have believed that part of serving well would be to know, almost instinctively, when the time is right to make way for someone else.
“And when that time came, to have the courage to do so, even if to many across the country, and in my party, might feel it too soon.
“In my head and in my heart I know that time is now. That it is right for me, for my party and for the country.
“And so today I am announcing my intention to step down as first minister and leader of my party.”
Ms Sturgeon said her decision was not a reaction to short-term pressures, but came from “a deeper and longer-term assessment”.
Today’s news brings an end to the careers of two prominent political figures. Sir Keir’s stand against the issues of anti-Semitism within the Labour party show he is looking to transform the party ahead of the next election. The move to stop Mr Corbyn from standing is a clear break from the hard-left of his party, the fall out of which will be interesting to see.
For Ms Sturgeon, the failure to achieve ‘indyref2’ presented a strong push towards her resignation. Although she claims her decision was not a reaction to pressures, it seems hard to dismiss them.
Questions on who will replace the First Minister will reach heights this week, with the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Humza Yousaf MSP a potential candidate. Watch our panel discussion with the Cabinet Secretary below: